The response rate to this study was 44.2% among junior doctors and 39% among medical students. Of the 60 participating junior doctors (40 males and 20 females), 29 were house officers (first year graduates) and 31 were new residents (after completing the house officer’s year). The 145 participating medical students (33 males and 112 females) were distributed among the academic years as follows: 85 were in their 4th year, 46 in their 5th year, and 16 in their 6th (final) year. Thus, it should be noted the majority of participating medical students were still in their early, primarily preclinical years of education.
More than two thirds of the participating junior doctors (68.3%) had inadequate knowledge of CPR, scoring less than 50% on the questionnaire, while the vast majority of medical students (93.8%) also showed inadequate knowledge. The deficiencies were most apparent for both groups in the questions assessing children- and neonate-specific CPR knowledge. For example, only 26.7% of junior doctors and 26.9% of medical students were able to identify the location of chest compressions in infants. Even lower rates of knowledge were particularly noticeable for questions covering the depth of compressions in children and in neonates as well as questions on rescue breathing in infants. Specifically, less than 20% of both junior doctors and medical students could correctly identify the depth of compressions in children and neonates, with strikingly as low as 4.8% of medical students able to answer correctly with respect to neonates. Both groups struggled (< 25%) with the topic of rescue breathing in infants, with the junior doctors (23.3%) performing close to twice as well as the medical students (12.4%). Most junior doctors (93.3%) and half of medical students (55.2%), however, could at least recognize the BLS acronym. Generally, junior doctors had better knowledge than medical students, scoring significantly better on average (p < 0.001) (Table 1, Fig. 1).
Despite gaps in knowledge, both junior doctors and medical students held overwhelmingly positive attitudes towards CPR training, with no statistical difference between them (95% in junior doctors and 91% in students; p = 0.256, Fig. 2). The majority of junior doctors and medical students agreed there is a necessity for CPR training (95.0% and 61.1%, respectively) and that it should be added to the curriculum (83.3% and 77.9%, respectively). However, less than a third of junior doctors (31.7%) and less than an eighth of medical students (11.0%) believed that their university could offer this training (Table 2). Reasons for the discrepancies between the junior doctors and medical students are unknown but may be due to a lack of clinical experience in the medical student group.
As expected, junior doctors who reported previous CPR training had significantly better CPR knowledge that those without previous training (odds ratio (OR) 3.6, 95% CI 1.1–11.8, p = 0.029). Likewise, trained medical students showed better CPR knowledge that those without training (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.1–18.5, p = 0.043). There was no statistical significance in the difference of attitudes between the two groups with previous CPR training and the respective groups without training, albeit those with training generally tended to have a more positive score (Table 3).
A slight positive trend (r = 0.17) was initially seen when analyzing the correlation between CPR knowledge scores and attitudes towards CPR training among junior doctors; however, this was found to be statistically insignificant (p = 0.193) (Fig. 3). In contrast, a relatively strong, positive correlation between knowledge and attitude was found to be statistically significant among medical students (r = 0.41, p < 0.001) (Fig. 4).